featured interview

Archetype Bleed for Them Once growing up in Manhattan, Archetype’s Nezbeat and iD have been living in Lawrence, Kansas since their college years. Known for its notorious art scene, stimulated by the everpresent influence of people like Charles Parker, Gordon Parks and William S. Burroughs, both have dedicated their lives to make music. The actual release of their 2005 album ‘Bleed For Them’ was easily one of this year’s most overlooked underground album...

You've been making music since 1997, why hasn't the world heard of you yet?

Nez: Some of the best things in life go overlooked. And a lot of artists are too busy making art/ends meet to worry about how many people in the world have heard of them. We might fit into that category.

iD: Really, we just never had a label to put our records out. Or promote them.

The album 'Bleed For Them' was originally released in 2005, why the re-release?

iD: Actually the album was never properly released at all. It was available online only and never advertised or promoted.

Nez: Not too many people outside the area got a chance to hear it and Dekagon felt they should.

Is there something different from the original release?

iD: There's one new track, and new artwork.

Nez: Yeah, we added a sweet ass little audio morsel at the end and had it remastered, plus the new art is way cleaner and just kicks a lot of ass.

Do you think that the album still represents the sound of Archetype anno 2007?

Nez: For sure, we are always progressing as individuals but I don't think anything we ever release will sound dated. ‘Freehand Formula’ is still relevant today from what people tell us.

iD: As my boy Johnny Quest put it, 'Bleed for Them' sounds like one complete thought. it has its own atmosphere.

The first album 'Freehand Formula' was issued in 2002, did you listen to this album again before and/or during the making of this one?

Nez: No, not really. I revisit our old stuff every now and then for the nostalgic aspect, and because I never get sick of listening to Isaac spit, but when we are making an album that album is what we focus on. Forward, no looking back.

iD: That was a very important album for us. It was the first proper CD either of us had ever put out. Listening to it is an involving activity for me, and a little embarrassing, so I don't play it very often.

How would you compare the makings of 'Freehand Formula' with 'Bleed For Them'?

Nez: ‘Freehand Formula’; we lived together so we were around each other more. It was more experimental in the sense that it was our first album that we had ever recorded on semi-decent equipment. By the time we did ‘Bleed For Them’ both of us had a better idea of what we wanted and knew how to execute it more precisely.

iD: The writing was different too. 'Freehand' was kind of a collection of the best songs I'd written over the previous years. 'Bleed for Them' was written intentionally, with the thought of a second album in mind, and included Nez on several songs, where as on the first album he was only on one song.

'Bleed For Them', what's the meaning behind the title?

iD; It's a lyric from the song 'Unfolding', which might explain better, but it's not more than a little cryptic. It could be taken differently depending on the person though. I'm sure it means something different to me than anyone else who's heard the album, and that's as it should be.

Nezbeat, you rhyme a few times too on the album, you are the producer, so how long have you been writing?

Nez: I've been writing since I was in grade school. But I was always more drawn to drums and the instrumental side of music. I started writing more seriously in high school thanks to Isaac and his constant push to make more songs with more people. So I'd say about ten years seriously.

The French samples on it, was it to give the album an avant-garde twist or do you have a love for the French language?

Nez: Well, we both have a great love for film, and we take inspiration from everything. I was researching the title ‘Bleed For Them’ and found the movie ‘Blood Of A Poet’ which reminded me of our title and the idea behind it. It's a Jean Cocteau film, a very ahead-of-it's-time and very surreal visual poem loosely about the artistic process and the pain and self-reflecting doubt it causes. In fact some of the CD book imagery from the first release of ‘Bleed For Them’ came from stills from that movie. An intensely dark and trippy film even by today's standards, I highly recommend it.

There's also a sample of Neil Sedaka, are you fans?

Nez: No, not really. Good ear though. The ‘oooh I hear laughter in the rain’ was just a really cool line and the harmony worked with ‘No Gods’. Neil Sedaka has some cool ass lyrics but I don't bump him in my car or anything. One song of his that I really like though is ‘Bad Blood’, which I also looked into sampling for ‘You See’ but it never worked. Favorite line; ‘The only thing good about bad blood Is lettin' it slide.’

The beats contain a lot of 60s-70s rockpop samples, what are some of your fav artists from that era?

Nez: the 60's and 70's was a major experimentation period in music and from that came some of the most influential and mind blowing groups of all time. Too many to name, but a few that I listen to or like to sample: Terco, Paul Winter, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Malo, Deodato.

iD: I'm not really into jazz too much except to steal the sounds. I'm a big fan of early soul and the rock music it inspired. Mostly I pay attention to song writing; structure, style, etc..obviously I'm more drawn to the lyrics/voice and how that's working with everything else.

Have you ever been in a rock group?

Nez: Yes, it's called Blackout Gorgeous, our first album ‘Tragic Logic’ came out at the same time as the first release of ‘Bleed For Them’. Check it out. I do all the beats, it's a 6 piece-band, we are working on a new album slowly but surely. Hopefully we can finish it before our lead singer sells out and starts having kids.

iD: I am a rock group!

Nezbeat, you made the beat for Murs and Mac Lethal on 'Women Of Scribble Jam' how did you hook up and how was it like to record with them?

Nez: We have been making music with Mac and playing shows for a long time and he knew Murs through Scribble Jam. Archetype had played a couple of shows with him so it was all family. Those are two of the craziest people I know and it was an honour to work with them together, very efficient and professional.

What's the idea behind the song?

Nez: It's called ‘Women of Scribble Jam’, it's about this hip-hop battle festival they hold in Cincinnati every August and more specifically all the fine honey's that flock to it. The song is a dialogue between the 2 while Mac is trying to get Murs to battle him, and all Murs wants to do is fuck bitches.

The single was the first release on Dekagon, how exactly did you get with Dekagon?

Nez: Again, the scribble jam connection. A lot of politics go on there, sometimes it pays off.

So you both have projects besides Archetype, could you mention some/all?

Nez: Blackout Gorgeous, Homoaner (HomeOwner), my new solo project tentatively named Tantric Neuromantic or Cool Fire Controller.

iD: My other main project is iD & Sleeper. We released an album on Mush records called 'Displacement' in 2005. Our second album entitled 'With Fixed Hands' will be coming out on Mush in the spring. I also recently self-released a collection of odds and ends from the past few years called 'Avatar Hotel'. It's got production by Nez and other area artists and a couple songs produced by Ming & FS out of NYC.

You're both from Manhattan , how did you end up in Lawrence ?

Nez: We both wanted to move somewhere with a better music scene and Lawrence's is one of the best in the country. Plus I was going to the University of Kansas at the time.

Besides Mac Lethal and Approach, we're not that much familiar with the local Kansas scene can you tell us some more about it?

Nez: Well, there are a good amount of venues and a really good college radio station in Lawrence that allows artists to be heard. Not to mention a good responsive crowd that stems from all the 18-20 something’s coming from the University. So that attracts a lot of really good artists and allows the ones from here to shine, there are too many to list but to name a few of my faves in the Lawrence/KC hip-hop scene: Ces Cru, Joc Max, Stic Figa, Miles Bonny, Joe Good, Adru the Misphit, Johnny Quest, Deep Thinkers

iD: Several Lawrence/KC rock bands are world renowned. I'd recommend checking out Lawrence.com for more on the subject.

As a matter of fact, Charlie Parker was also from Kansas , is there anything that reminds you of him?

Nez: Kansas City was a hotbed for swing music in the 20's and 30's, and since, Jazz has been heavily embedded in the culture and the vibe of the city. Lawrence, where we live, isn't so much influenced by jazz but we still have our fair share of other legendary artists, Langston Hughes, William S. Burroughs, etc. The music scene here today definitely resonates with the music history of the area, in other words, we still have our fair share of badass artists coming out of here.

iD: That’s for sure. (laughs)

Does Parker’s music still floats through the air over there?

Nez: A lot of jazz originators and pioneers came from or got known in Kansas city and the innovation will never be forgotten. Kansas City jazz legends Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, the list goes on and these artists are still relevant 50, 60, 70 years later, and still heard sampled and ripped off in a lot of modern music to this day and I think for the rest of eternity it will be that way.

iD: What I feel in the air here these days is a sense of experimentation. There’s a lot of innovative and interesting artistic and musical collaboration coming out of this corner of the world right now.

Hopefully Gordon Parks ain't forgotten yet...?

Nez: No way, come on he directed ‘Shaft’! He's my favourite photographer and is where I lifted the name for my first album ‘From The Huge Silence’. He's a legend in his own right and legends are not to be forgotten. We happen to have a lot of them from the Kansas city Lawrence area. I think there is something in the water.

Does the Little House On The Prairie still stands there, and do you often get confronted with such foolish questions or Wizard of Oz jokes?

Nez: No Doubt, the Wizard of Oz is classic but the shit gets old. Not so much little house on the prairie, I think that is actually a first.

iD: The Wizard kicks ass!

Adru The Misphit is also from Manhattan right? You know him from there? He has his first full length out right?

Nez: Yeah, we met him in Manhattan i think up at the college radio station, all of us had mutual DJ friends and would go up there to get on air. His first official album just came out, it's called ‘Dying on my Feet’. I did like four beats on there and ID has a verse, it's a really dope album. Check it out here.

iD: Yeah, I had a song slated for my own album that was just me. Adru was really into the concept of my verse and wanted to add another aspect to the song. I thought it was a good idea so we re-recorded it and I let him use the song for his own album. The original version is on my album 'Avatar Hotel' which you can get online from indstr.com.

What was the first rap record you had/bought?

Nez: Mine was ‘Straight Outta Compton’.

iD: I don't know about rap records, but the first thing i ever had my own copy of was 'Appetite for Destruction' by G'N'R

What was the last rap record you bought?

Nez: Sadly, I can’t remember.

iD: 'Boyd City' by Boyd Pro fom KC's Symbol Heavy crew. It's mostly instrumental beats but my boy Nomad gets a verse in and the whole thing is sick. Check 'em out symbolheavy.com.

What other music have you been listening to lately?

Nez: I listen to a lot of my own shit, and a lot of old jazz records. The last record I got was the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz, anyone and everyone is on it. it's the shit. Also Radiohead’s new one and a lot of local stuff.

iD: Beats that I'm writing to.

There's a third album coming right? Could you tell us anything about it already?

iD: For the last year or so all of our live shows have included a live band. For this record we decided to incorporate that element into the studio tracks more. The third album should be done some time in the next year, but we're not really putting a time limit on it. We're working on it steadily, but were taking our time to make the record exactly what we want it to be. There’s a lot of potential to live up to and we're not trying to slump. Plus the deeper we go the more ideas we find 'and it just don't stop'

What other project are coming out by you and yours/extended famm/other projects? Shout-outs?

Nez: I have a couple of Nezbeat solo albums yet to be titled or labled. One is gonna be mostly instrumental and the other is me singing over banging rockin ass beats. I also have an album with Stic Figa in the works. Mainly more Archetype.

iD: There's the iD & Sleeper album coming out on Mush around March or April. A side project of mine with a producer called Natural Disasters entitled 'Lost Cats' will be coming out in February. And I just got started on my first proper solo album which is mostly produced by Stump1 from SIQ records out of Hawaii.

Nez: I have some beats on Dri's album that just came out, shout out to her and all of Range Life Records. Shout out to MixTape studios and all the KC/Lawrence musicians puttin it down.

iD: Much love to everyone who got the album. We'll talk at you soon.

Peace.

 

POSTED 01|01|2008
conducted by Cpf

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